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  1. Technology
November 7, 1995

MINIGRAMS EXTRA

By CBR Staff Writer

Looking for that elusive pic for page three? Sprint Corp has a new service that enables advertising agencies and other creative firms to retrieve images over a telephone line from Eastman Kodak Co’s database of 200,000 photos, using keywords, such as sunset or city to find the pictures they want: Sprint will market, manage and deliver images from Kodak Picture Exchange over the Sprint fibre optic network; resolution is currently only high enough for positioning and layouts, but professional quality images for production can be ordered through the screen for mail or courier delivery; the service, available now, is $1.42 per minute, and the software and first hour of use is free; Sprint said this is only the first of a series of imaging services it plans to launch using Kodak digital image technology.

Ameritech Corp, clearing one of its biggest hurdles to entering the long distance market, has agreed to allow US Network Corp to compete in its Chicago local telephone market by reselling Ameritech local services in the Chicago metropolitan area, beginning as early as February: Ameritech will offer a sliding scale of discounts to competitors, the largest being for resellers that make substantial term and volume commitments; Ameritech expects the 10-year agreement to add about $1,000m in revenues over its term; the Chicago area will be its first local telephone market open to competition but the company said it is negotiating similar agreements in other parts of its service area.

Time Engineering Bhd has teamed up with Plessey Corp Ltd of South Africa to invest and undertake business in the telecommunications sector, setting up one joint venture company in Malaysia which will act as project manager, supplier and turnkey contractor for telecommunication projects in Asia and Eastern Europe and another in South Africa to serve it and surrounding states south of the Sahara: the joint venture companies will have initial paid-up capital of $395,500 and $275,150 respectively; Time will hold a 51% stake in the Malaysian joint venture firm and a 49% stake of the South African venture.

Fujitsu Ltd has an order for more than 2,000 of its flagship FMV personal computers from its wholly-owned subsidiary Fujitsu Hong Kong Ltd for sale in China: the $15.8m deal is funded by Japanese official development assistance and the machines are for six regions in southern China, part of a programme to boost China’s information infrastructure and enable the country to set up a national computer system by the year 2000, Fujitsu noted.

East Hartford, Connecticut-based Scan-Optics Inc will reduce its workforce by about 40 from the current 297 total in response to low turnover levels, saying that while the digital imaging and scanning market is expanding, it needs to respond to the fiscal requirements of turnover and costs: for the third quarter ended September 30, the company reported a loss per share of $0.13, compared with a profit of $0.04 in the year-ago period; turnover slid to $9.82m, from $10.93m in the 1994 quarter.

Bezeq Israel Telecommunications Ltd has set up a subsidiary to handle international projects called Bezeq International Ventures Ltd: managing director will be Yoav Krill, who until now has headed Bezeq’s department for international projects; the decision to set up the subsidiary follows Bezeq’s increased involvement in foreign markets which include Hungary, Poland and several republics of the former Soviet Union, the Israeli, 10% owned by Cable & Wireless Plc, explained.

Ameritech Corp is to begin selling own-brand telephones for the first time since the Bell system break-up in 1984: customers can choose from different Ameritech phones that have built-in Caller ID display screens, speaker phones and a variety of integrated features; they range in price from $130 to $239 and will not be in the shops.

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DeTeMobil GmbH, the cellular subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom AG said it now has more than 1.3m subscribers on its D1 digital cellular network, which competes with Mannesmann AG’s D2 network and the E-Plus network of Veba AG, Thyssen Telecom AG and BellSouth Corp: DeTeMobil said there were around 700,000 on its analogue C-Tel network, which has been losing users to the digital networks; it reiterated previous forecasts that by the year 2000 there would be around 10m cellular phone users in Germany.

South African state-owned telecommunications company Telkom Corp has invited five of the 20 bidders in its 1m telephone line project to submit detailed competitive bids and the five are Alcatel Altech Telecomms Ltd, AT&T NS-NL Ltd, Ericsson South Africa Ltd, Marpless Communication Technologies Ltd and Siemens Telecommunications Ltd; in this second round Telkom will pick the technologies, systems and turnkey contractors for the project; the 15 companies not selected to tender further can still tender as sub-contractors for equipment; Telkom would not say how much the 1m line project was expected to cost but said it would probably be less than the $1,650m guessed by industry sources; tender documents will be issued at month-end, installation will begin around the middle of next year and end in March 2000.

You make a grown man cry… even after getting an explanation of mean times between failure that extend for many years longer than the product has been in existence, we’ve remained uncomfortable about the claims, and the same applies to software testing – until the feature has been tested under real world conditions, you can’t be sure that it really works, and the trouble with events like the switch to summer or winter or daylight saving or standard times, is that they only happen twice a year, and there were so many builds of Windows95 that the beta testers probably never saw the final one on an occasion when the clocks changed: PC Week’s gossip columnist reports that Windows95 popped up daylight-saving adjustment dialogue at precisely 2am on October 29 when the US put its clocks back, and he decided to accept its suggestion to fall back to 1am, but then an hour later, the reminder reappeared… and every hour after until he finally did the equivalent of tossing the clock out the Windows95.

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